Proverbs in 365 Devotions

August 9

Proverbs 13:18 Poverty and disgrace come to him who ignores instruction, but whoever heeds reproof is honored. 19 A desire fulfilled is sweet to the soul, but to turn away from evil is an abomination to fools.

To Hear And To Heed

R Aylor

I was just thinking… you know, poverty may come to a person for a number of different reasons… Sickness may be the catalyst that brings it on. I think we see many across the world flung into extreme poverty because of well, Covid-19 but not necessarily with disgrace attached to it like todays passage mentions. Poverty may overtake someone because they were taken advantage of by another; right? Sometimes people are born into a impoverished family within a poor country with few opportunities… maybe they are born blind or deaf or with learning abilities which keeps them lacking… So I suppose there are lots of reasons poverty overtakes someone.

Still, I think a case could be made that at least some of these other reasons for poverty are somehow linked with ignoring good instructions around them. Covid-10 might come from ignoring social distancing guidelines… Being taken advantage of by someone and going broke might be because you ignored wisdom in choosing godly friends… Going broke in business comes quite often to those who ignore good business rules and practices… Even laziness that leads to poverty comes when we ignore instruction that tells us to work.   

So today Solomon is telling us this rock solid truth about a genre of Poverty and disgrace which comes upon people like you and I for ignoring good instruction and reproof… Which I think is actually the most common reason for poverty at least in the United States.

We can see everyday if we look. Good instruction would include things like: don’t gamble your paycheck on the horses… don’t be a slave to alcohol, food, work or play … don’t be ruled over by the desire to buy things… don’t be overpowered by gossip, manipulated by greed, controlled by the lusts of the flesh…  Solomon says those who ignore instruction brings disgrace and poverty while heeding reproof brings honor.

The problem seems to lie somewhere in the fact that man’s heart is bent to go our own way instead of listening to God… We are bent to sin.

We come out of the womb and right away we begin learning how to get our way. If I cry Mom will hold me… if I cry again she will feed me… We keep learning more life hacks for our own advantage as we gain awareness of right and wrong and then into adulthood always being drawn to ignore Gods instruction.  

In verse 19 of today's text Solomon says: 'to turn away from evil is an abomination to fools.'

That’s how bent we are at our core.

And then amid all these things Solomon has spoken of today there is this one little phrase that though true seems so out of place. In verse 19 it precedes what we just read and it seems to be intended to be the positive of what we just read. Let me read all of verse 19 again:

19 A desire fulfilled is sweet to the soul, but to turn away from evil is an abomination to fools.

“A desire fulfilled is sweet to the soul” then… it seems to me must indicate that this relates to the person who will receive instruction and does heed reproof… that is… the wise person…  the one Solomon says is honored.

Now Solomon may have been talking about truths he saw in the physical world; and to have our desires met is sweet for sure! Things like… I don’t know… paying off a debt or having a good job… a loving family. So to accomplish all kinds of good goals in life brings a sweetness to our soul right?

But at our core… or soul, is a hunger that cant be filled by anything in the world. It’s a desire that longs to be fulfilled and when it is… truly, like Solomon says it is sweet to our soul… it is sweeter than anything else.

So yes, as all the others, today’s passage points us to Jesus Christ. I mean heeding the instruction God has given us in his word leads to sharing in the glory of God for eternity. That is an honor we don’t deserve by any means but one that will be filled with unsearchable riches and a full inheritance from God…. even to be forgiven and accepted by God… and to… Wow!… to see him in his glory. Thats going to be a desire fulfilled and sweet to our soul… While those who ignore Gods word… his gift of Jesus… his good news of great joy… for them repentance from evil is abomination to their soul while those who accept Gods grace through Jesus receive sweet delight and joy… even peace to our soul for not only now but eternity.

Father God, thank you for your word today and these words of Solomon. Please help us not to listen to our own bent towards going our own way… May we not listen to the culture around us or the wisdom of the world to guide our choices in life… May we not even analyze and rationalize our own personal lusts and passions into something that seems right to us. Please show us your instruction by giving us a desire to persevere in your word every day even when we dont feel like it or don't understand it… and please quicken us with your Holy Spirit to hear and respond to your instructions with joy as we see more and more of your glory in Jesus.